by Angus Konstam
Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2019. Pp. 336+.
Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $30.00. ISBN: 1472833864
The Greatest Sea Chase
Noted British naval historian Konstam, author of books on piracy and Jutland, has produced a new account of the most famous sea chase in modern history, the Royal Navy’s hunt for the Bismarck in May of 1941. While the story has been told before, perhaps most notably by C.S. Foster, who’s book was turned into the fairly good 1960 film Sink the Bismarck!, Konstam draws upon many first hand accounts, including those of German survivors, and other sources not available to previous authors.
Konstam has a knack for smoothly cutting back and forth among several different witnesses, to offer a very fast-paced account of how the events unfolded, at times literally on a minute-by-minute basis. To be sure, the overall story remains essentially unchanged, but Konstam adds a lot of detail, some of it quite impressive; for example, he notes that some of the German survivors recalled report that even as HMS Hood had blown in two and was sinking fast, her gunners managed to get off one last salvo.
Although some tables providing data on the ships involved would have been useful, Hunt the Bismarck is an excellent treatment of these events, worthwhile reading even for those already well-grounded in the pursuit of the Bismarck.
Note: Hunt the Bismarck is also available in several e-editions.
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